This list of songs is inspired by a list published by radio station, KEXP, from Seattle in 2010, as well as, the latest poll taken in 2021 by Rolling Stone Magazine. For the most part, I will faithfully countdown from their lists, from Song #500 to Song #1. So, when you see the song title listed as something like: “KEXP: Song #XXX”….it means that I am working off of the official KEXP list. “RS: Song XXX” means the song is coming from the Rolling Stone list. If I post the song title as being: “KTOM: Song #xxx”….it means I have gone rogue and am inserting a song choice from my own personal list of tunes I really like. In either case, you are going to get to hear a great song and learn the story behind it. Finally, I am not a music critic nor a musician. I am a music fan and an armchair storyteller. Enough said! Let’s get on to today’s song.
RS: The Top 500 Songs in Modern Music History.
Song #224: Tom Sawyer by Rush.
Rush is such an interesting band. They are comprised of three members; Geddy Lee on lead vocals, bass guitar and keyboards, Alex Lifeson on lead guitar and Neil Peart on drums. They played together for over forty years. Rush is known for the intelligence of their lyrics and the skill with which they all played their instruments and, as such, they were highly-respected by fans and fellow musicians, alike. They have sold over 40 million albums over the course of their career and have had 25 Gold records in that time. They are members of The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame, The Canadian Music Hall of Fame and have been enshrined on Canada’s Walk of Fame. However, when you ask anyone about who the best bands of all time are, Rush always tends to fly under the radar, coming in after The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and the like. But, make no mistake, among true fans, as well as, most musicians, Rush is as respected a band as there has ever been.
“Tom Sawyer” is just one of many outstanding hits in their musical canon. “Closer to the Heart”, “Limelight”, “Subdivisions” and “Spirit of Radio” are all, also, worthy of the spotlight. “Tom Sawyer” is a song co-written by the members of Rush, along with a gentleman named Pye Dubois, who wrote many of the hit songs for Canadian group, Max Webster. The song is, essentially, about a free-spirited young man heading off into the world, enduring several rites of passage as he travels and gaining maturity in the end because of his experiences along the way. The song has been a staple of all live Rush shows since it was released in 1981. It has been covered by bands such as Foo Fighters and has appeared on TV shows such as South Park. In fact, in the videos below, I am including a video that starts out with a South Park clip before launching into the “proper” version by Rush. I am, also, including a second video that focuses solely on Neil Peart’s drumming. Many people consider Peart to have been the greatest drummer in Rock history. This “drum cam” video shows a master at his craft. The skill is extraordinary. His movements are so efficient and crisp. I, actually, enjoy watching “Tom Sawyer” on the drum cam video more than I do as a regular concert video. Either way, “Tom Sawyer” is a more than worthy entrant on this list of the greatest songs of all time. Enjoy!
The link to the video for the song, “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, can be found here.
The link to the video for the “Drum Cam” version of “Tom Sawyer” by Rush, can be found here.
The link to the video for the Induction of Rush into the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame by Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins of Foo Fighters, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rush, can be found here.
The link to the official website for Rolling Stone Magazine, can be found here.